I love the idea of obtaining lifetime elite status with a hotel chain. Not only, do you not have to worry about requalifying for status every year, but you also have some protection from dreaded “program changes.” One such example is United Airlines MileagePlus change where they are now imposing a revenue requirement in order to qualify for elite status. If you already have lifetime status, then you wouldn’t have to worry about the crazy, customer unfriendly requirements.
One of the best lifetime elite programs is Marriott Rewards. Although Marriott makes it quite difficult to obtain Platinum or Gold elite status due to an incredibly high room night requirement, they do seem to have a fairly reasonable lifetime elite status program.
Requirements for Lifetime Elite Status
Lifetime Marriott Silver Status
Points required: 1.2 million points
Nights required: 250 nights
Lifetime Marriott Gold Status
Points required: 1.6 million points
Nights required: 500 nights
Lifetime Marriott Platinum Status
Points required: 2.0 million points
Nights required: 750 nights
Remember that you must meet both the nights AND the points requirement in order to gain lifetime Marriott elite status. You can find the exact details here.
What’s Great About Qualifying for Lifetime Status?
In my opinion, the great thing about Marriott’s lifetime status is that ALL points and nights qualify. The following nights and points qualify:
- Paid nightsP(normal nights you pay for and stay at the hotel)
- Elite rollover nights (if you have any extra nights beyond those required to earn elite status in one year, the nights that rollover qualify toward lifetime status)
- Meeting nights (these are promotional nights awarded to meeting coordinators that book meetings at a hotel)
- Marriott Rewards Credit Card nights (these are nights earned from holding the Chase Marriott credit card and spending on the card)
In summary there are many different ways you can earn points and nights toward both elite status and lifetime elite status, so it can actually be quite easy to attain lifetime status.
What’s The Easiest Way For Me to Get Marriott Lifetime Gold Status?
In my mind Marriott Lifetime Gold status is the one to shoot for, especially for those who don’t stay 100+ nights per year at a hotel. The reason is because Gold status confers most of the benefits of Platinum status, like executive club access, upgrades, point bonuses, etc. but does not require nearly as many nights and points (500 nights, 1.6 million points).
Let’s assume that you stay an average of 20 nights per year. You would earn Marriott Silver Status in the first year (you earn it after 10 nights) and then 10 would roll over to the next year as rollover nights, which then would qualify toward lifetime status. The math would look like:
Year 1: 20 room nights
Year 2: 30 room nights (20 paid nights + 10 rollover nights)
Year 3: 30 room nights (20 paid nights + 10 rollover nights)
In this case you have 80 room nights toward lifetime status after just 3 years. Keep in mind that rollover nights expire after one year there for the rollover nights you carried over from year 1 to year 2 do not count in year 3.
Now, let’s make things interesting!
What if you had the Chase Marriott Rewards credit card?
The card issues you 15 free elite qualifying room nights per year! And for the sake of argument let’s assume that you spend $15,000 per year on the card, which would earn you an additional 5 room nights (you earn one free elite qualifying room night each time you spend $3,000 on the card). Therefore, you earn 20 room nights per year just for owning the credit card. Let’s see what that does to your earnings toward lifetime status:
Year 1: 40 room nights (20 paid nights, 20 credit card nights)
Year 2: 70 room nights (20 paid nights, 20 credit card nights, 30 rollover nights) + Gold Elite Status
Year 3: 40 room nights (20 paid nights, 20 credit card nights)
In this example you will have earned Marriott Gold Status in year 2, plus you have earned 110 nights toward Marriott lifetime gold status. Now, you are over 20% toward your goal. If you continue on this pace, you will have earned lifetime silver status in just 7 years (maybe less), and lifetime Marriott gold status in less than 15 years. Of course I am also assuming that you earn the requisite points as well, but in my opinion it is much harder to earn the required nights than points.
If you value life time elite status in a hotel loyalty program and the perks that accompany it, than Marriott Rewards might be the way to go. The incredibly generous elite night earning feature of the credit card greatly accelerates your pace and could help you earn lifetime status in even less time if you spend even more than the amount assumed in my example. In fact, the card does come with an $85 annual fee, but this is easily canceled out by the free category 5 hotel night that you earn every year that you are a cardholder (you only earn a category 4 night the first year that you sign up, but it is upgraded to a category 5 night after your first year).